Diverticulitis Diet – What You Should Eat And Avoid

Reviewed by Merlin Annie Raj, Registered Dietitian
by Charushila Biswas
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition

Your diet is very important if you have diverticulitis. Consuming low-fiber foods leads to the formation of small pouches (diverticula) in the innermost lining of your colon. Sometimes, these pouches get inflamed and infected, causing serious pain and bleeding – a condition known as diverticulitis.

According to the American Gastroenterological Association, about 4% of people with diverticulosis are prone to develop diverticulitis, and about 15% of them can suffer from other complications such as fistula, abscess, perforation, etc. (1). Hence, doctors highly recommend eating fiber-rich foods for those with diverticulitis. In this article, you will find out how to incorporate high-fiber foods into your daily diet without agitating your colon, foods to avoid, exercises, and much more. Read on!

Diverticulitis And Fiber-Rich Foods – How It Helps

Image: iStock

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be digested by humans. Fiber is of two types, soluble and insoluble, depending on its ability to dissolve in liquids. Both soluble and insoluble fiber are of great importance as they help add bulk to the stool, slow down the transition time of digested foods in the colon, help in the absorption of nutrients, suppress appetite, and help good gut bacteria to flourish, which improves digestion (2) (3).

Without fiber, you can suffer from constipation, and the colon has to work extra hard to pass the stool – leading to diverticulosis or bulging of the colon wall. Consuming foods that are rich in fiber can help prevent your colon from exerting pressure to excrete the stool, thereby preventing irritation of the colon walls. But ensure you do not consume too many high-fiber foods too soon.

You should be very careful while incorporating fiber-rich foods into your diet. How to do it right? Follow our diverticulitis diet plan that will not shock your colon but instead help you make a smooth transition. Take a look.

Diverticulitis Diet

Phase 1 Diverticulitis Diet Chart

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Phase 1 of the diverticulitis diet requires you to be on clear liquids for at least three days. This may sound a little harsh, but the reason doctors recommend this is that eating fiber-rich foods right away can further irritate the colon wall, leading to severe pain and bleeding. Liquids, on the other hand, will provide the required nutrition without the need for the digestive organs to work too hard. So, here’s how you should go about it.

MealsWhat To Eat
Early Morning (6:30 – 7:00 am)2 cups water
Breakfast (8:00 – 8:30 am)1 cup fruit juice (without pulp)
Mid-Morning (11:00 am)1 cup white tea
Lunch (12:30 – 1:30 pm)Vegetable broth (do not consume the veggies) or bone broth
Evening Snack (4:00 pm)1 cup fruit juice (without pulp)
Dinner (7:00 – 7:30 pm)Lentil broth (do not consume lentils) + 1 small cup jelly

Why This Works?

Since you will be in pain and experience loss of appetite, this diet chart contains a minimum amount of foods that are nutritious and help your body function properly. Start your day with two cups of water to help soften the stool and soothe the colon walls. It will also help flush out the toxins.

For breakfast, strain the fruit juice to prevent adding any fruit fiber to your diet. If you feel hungry after a few hours, you can have a cup of white tea to bolster your immune system. For lunch, have vegetable or bone broth. Leave out the veggies for a few days to avoid putting any strain on your digestive system. For the evening snack, have a cup of fruit juice to help rejuvenate and replenish your body with vitamins and minerals. For dinner, have a cup of lentil broth without the lentils and a small cup of jelly to satiate your taste buds.

Now, let’s find out which foods you should eat and avoid while you are in Phase 1 of the diverticulitis diet.

Diverticulitis Foods To Eat – Phase 1 

  • Tea/coffee (without milk)
  • Water
  • Broth
  • Freshly pressed fruit juice without pulp
  • Ice popsicles without fruits
  • Jelly
  • Minimum amount of salt

Diverticulitis Foods To Avoid – Phase 1 

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Protein – eggs, meat, fish, lentils, beans, mushrooms, soy chunks, tofu, etc.
  • Milk, yogurt, buttermilk, cheese, etc.
  • Butter, ghee, olive oil, rice bran oil, etc.
  • Grains
  • Herbs and spices
  • Alcohol, aerated beverages, and artificially sweetened beverages
  • Tobacco

 So, it is clear from the above list that you have to avoid all foods that require you to chew or need the digestive organs to function well. You can also improve your condition by exercising regularly. Here’s what you should do.

Exercises For Diverticulitis Diet Phase 1

Image: Shutterstock

  • Stretch and warm-up
  • Balasana
  • Supta Udarakarshanasana
  • Savasana

How You Will Feel By The End Of Diverticulitis Diet Phase 1?

After three days (or more, depending on the healing), you will start to gain appetite and experience less pain. You will become more active, and your mood will also improve.

So, now, you can safely get on to the next phase of the diverticulitis diet. Let’s find out what’s in it.

Phase 2 Diverticulitis Diet Chart

Image: iStock

In Phase 2, you will slowly start including low-fiber foods in your diet. You should be cautious as you may feel you can digest anything, but that’s not true. Help your digestive organs to resume their normal functioning without shocking them with too many fiber-rich foods. Here’s what you should eat.

MealsWhat To Eat
Early Morning (6:30 – 7:00 am)2 cups water
Breakfast (8:00 – 8:30 am)Options:

1 slice of white bread toast + 1 cup black coffee


1 pancake + 1 cup black coffee

Mid-Morning (11:00 am)1 cup freshly pressed fruit juice (without pulp)
Lunch (12:30 – 1:30 pm)1 small bowl white rice + well-cooked veggies + 1 small cup yogurt
Evening Snack (4:00 pm)1 cup green tea + 1 cracker
Dinner (7:00 – 7:30 pm)Options:

Pasta with white sauce + 1 small scoop of ice cream


Poached chicken + mashed potatoes + 1 small scoop of ice cream

Why This Works?

As you will start feeling better by this time, you can add low-fiber foods to your diet. Start your day by drinking two cups of water to flush out the toxins. Have a slice of white bread or a pancake made of flour, which is low in fiber. Have a cup of black coffee to feel fresh and rejuvenated. Freshly pressed fruit juice without the pulp will help soothe your colon.

Have a substantial lunch with white rice, well-cooked veggies, and yogurt to aid digestion and provide nutrition to your body. Green tea and a cracker will help curb your hunger in the evening and also scavenge the harmful free oxygen radicals.

Make your dinner exciting by having pasta with white sauce or poached chicken and mashed potatoes. End your meal with a small scoop of ice cream to keep you motivated to follow this diet chart.

Here’s the list of foods to avoid and eat while you are in phase 2 of the diverticulitis diet.

Diverticulitis Foods To Eat – Phase 2

  • Well-cooked and canned veggies
  • Fruits without pulp, skin, or seeds
  • White bread, white pasta, white rice, flour crackers
  • Milk, yogurt, ice cream, pudding, sour cream, cheese
  • Chicken, eggs, tofu, and fish
  • Butter, oils, margarine
  • Waffle and pancake (made of flour)
  • Buttermilk, fresh fruit juice (without pulp), water
  • Finely ground herbs and spices in little amounts

Diverticulitis Foods To Avoid – Phase 2

  • Raw or partly cooked vegetables
  • Fruits with pulp, skin, or seeds
  • Wheat bread, wheat pasta, brown/red/black rice, multigrain cereals, multigrain bread, multigrain crackers, etc.
  • Beef, duck, turkey, pork
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Dried fruits
  • Whole spices and herbs
  • Aerated drinks, pulpy fruit juices, and alcohol

So, you see, you should eat low-fiber foods and avoid consuming high-fiber foods till your colon is healed to a great extent. Exercise can also speed up your healing. Here’s a list of exercises that will help you.

 Exercises For Diverticulitis Diet Phase 2

Image: iStock

  • Stretch and warm-up
  • Pavanamuktasana
  • Balasana
  • Ardha Matsyendrasana
  • Trikonasana
  • Ustrasana
  • Supta Udarakarshanasana
  • Savasana

How You Will Feel By The End Of Diverticulitis Diet Phase 2?

 By the end of Phase 2, you will feel much better as your stomach ache will vanish, and you will be able to digest food with ease. Your appetite will return to its normal levels, and you can go about your daily activities with more ease. Before you decide to move on to the next phase, you should consult your doctor. If he gives a thumbs up, you can move on to Phase 3. Here’s what you should do in Phase 3 of the diverticulitis diet.

Phase 3 Diverticulitis Diet Chart

Image: iStock

You can start consuming fiber-rich foods, which will help prevent constipation and bloating and improve digestion. Here’s what you should eat.

MealsWhat To Eat
Early Morning (6:30 – 7:00 am)2 cups water
Breakfast (8:00 – 8:30 am)Options:

1 egg + 1 cup milk + 2 wheat bread toast + 2 soaked almonds


Multigrain cereal + milk + chopped apple + dates + 2 soaked almonds

Mid-Morning (11:00 am)½ cup ricotta cheese
Lunch (12:30 – 1:30 pm)Tuna/veggie  salad + 1 cup buttermilk


Brown rice with stir-fried veggies + mushrooms + 1 cup buttermilk

Evening Snack (4:00 pm)1 cup carrot/apple juice
Dinner (7:00 – 7:30 pm)Options:

Quinoa with black beans + 1 small scoop vanilla ice cream


Spinach, cheese, and shredded chicken stuffed wheat pita bread + 1 sapodilla

Why This Works?

Having two cups of water in the morning as soon as you wake up is mandatory to help improve bowel movement, soothe the colon, and flush out the toxins. In this phase, you will consume fiber-rich foods for all the meals. Eggs are a great source of protein, wheat bread and multigrain cereal are rich in fiber, and milk is a good source of calcium, vitamin D, and protein. Apples and dates are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and almonds are a great source of healthy fats. If you feel hungry after a few hours, you can have a small amount of ricotta cheese.

For lunch, have a salad with a dressing of your choice or brown rice, mushrooms, and stir-fried veggies to get all the nutrients. At the end of your lunch, have a cup of buttermilk to provide your gut with good bacteria. You can have carrot or apple juice for your evening snack. They are a good source of vitamin A, minerals, and fiber.

For dinner, have fiber-rich foods, such as quinoa, black beans, spinach, wheat pita bread, and sapodilla. Also, include chicken as it is a good source of protein. Cheese adds flavor, and ice cream helps keep your dinner exciting. Take a look at the next section to find out which foods you should eat and avoid while you are in Phase 3 of the diverticulitis diet.

Diverticulitis Foods To Eat – Phase 3

  • Veggies – Broccoli, spinach, cabbage, lettuce, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, carrot, beetroot, celery, radish, collard greens, rocket spinach, cauliflower, kale, yam, tomato, cucumber, bottle gourd, bitter gourd, snake gourd, okra, eggplant, onion, pumpkin, and squash.
  • Fruits – Apple, banana, plum, peach, pear, pineapple, pluot, avocado, pomegranate, raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, gooseberry, mango, passion fruit, dragon fruit, and orange.
  • Protein – Chicken, beef, fish, mushroom, lentils, beans, soy chunks, and tofu.
  • Dairy – Milk, yogurt, frozen yogurt, cheese, ice cream, sour cream, cottage cheese, and ricotta cheese.
  • Oils And Fats – Ghee, butter, olive oil, rice bran oil, flax seed oil, peanut butter, sunflower butter, flax seed butter, hemp seed oil, etc.
  • Seeds And Nuts – Pumpkin seeds, cucumber seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, almond, hazelnuts, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pistachios, etc.
  • Herbs And Spices – Pepper, turmeric, chili powder, chili flakes, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, mace, nutmeg, saffron, ginger, garlic, oregano, cilantro, basil, dill, fennel seeds, dried fennel, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, etc.
  • Beverages – Buttermilk, water, freshly pressed fruit and vegetable juices, detox water, and coconut water.

Diverticulitis Foods To Avoid – Phase 3 

  • Protein – Turkey, pork, and duck.
  • Beverages – Alcohol, aerated beverages, artificially sweetened and flavored beverages, and packaged juices.

While you are in Phase 3, you can gradually start doing cardio along with yoga asanas to keep yourself active and fit. Here’s your phase 3 exercise routine.

Exercises For Diverticulitis Diet Phase 3

Image: iStock

  • Head tilt – 1 set of 10 reps (right and left)
  • Neck rotations – 1 set of 10 reps (clockwise and anticlockwise)
  • Shoulder rotations – 1 set of 10 reps (clockwise and anticlockwise)
  • Arm rotations – 1 set of 10 reps (clockwise and anticlockwise)
  • Wrist rotations – 1 set of 10 reps (clockwise and anticlockwise)
  • Ankle rotations – 1 set of 10 reps (clockwise and anticlockwise)
  • Spot jogging – 5 minutes
  • Burpees – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Jumping jacks – 2 sets of 20 reps
  • Full squat – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Side lunges – 1 sets of 10 reps
  • Forward lunges – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Mountain climbers – 2 sets of 12 reps
  • Apanasana
  • Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
  • Paschimottanasana
  • Balasana
  • Utkatasana
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana
  • Uttanasana
  • Trikonasana
  • Savasana

How You Will Feel By The End Of Diverticulitis Diet Phase 3?

Image: iStock

By the end of Phase 3 of the diverticulitis diet, your digestion will improve, the severe pain in the colon will diminish, and you will regain control of your life.

For your convenience, here are a few other causes and symptoms of diverticulitis.

Diverticulitis Causes

  • Aging: The incidence of diverticulitis increases with age.
  • Pressure from the outside may result in the intestinal wall getting stressed and torn.
  • Lack of exercise
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Certain medications, including nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs

Diverticulitis Symptoms

  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrheaor constipation
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nauseaand vomiting
  • Swelling
  • Fever

You should also keep a few points in mind if you have diverticulitis. Here’s what you should know.

Points To Remember

  • You should totally stop smoking.
  • Alcohol is a strict no-no.
  • Eat less spicy food to avoid irritating your colon wall.
  • Take the doctor prescribed antibiotics as per the instructions.
  • Consult your doctor before starting this diet.
  • Ask your doctor if you should take Psyllium in addition to following the diverticulitis diet.
  • Keep yourself active by working out regularly.
  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
  • Go on walks to help fight depression and anxiety that come along with this condition.
  • Join a diverticulitis group to help keep you spirited about fighting this condition.
  • Drink as much water as possible.
  • Diverticulitis may reappear if you do not take good care of what you eat and how you lead your life. 

True, diverticulitis is a painful condition, but you can surely fight it off by changing your diet and lifestyle. So, consult your doctor and start this diverticulitis diet plan to lead a pain-free and healthy life. Good luck!

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Charushila Biswas

Charushila Biswas is a Senior Content Writer and an ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist. She is an alumni of VIT University, Vellore and has worked on transgenic wheat as a part of her Masters dissertation from NRCPB (IARI), New Delhi. After completing her Masters, she developed a passion for nutrition and fitness, which are closely related to human psychology. And that prompted her to author a review article in 2015. She has written over 200 articles on Fitness and Nutrition. In her leisure time, Charushila loves to cook and enjoys mobile photography.